Frequently Asked Questions:
What is a property tax appeal?
Most States allow the counties to tax property owners based on the value of the real estate they own. Some States have no income tax so the counties rely heavily on property and sales tax to fund local government. Other States have income tax so their property tax rates are lower. Property taxes are sometimes called Ad Valorem taxes which means “According to Value”. Real estate values fluctuate with the economic cycle and many States, including Georgia, send out tax assessment notices every year. This notice tells you what the local government thinks your real estate is worth and the value they intend to base your tax on. Appraising all of the real estate in a county is a daunting task however, the tax assessors can’t be consistently accurate. The process they use is called Mass Appraisal and relies on statistical testing. As a result, the State tax law allows for property owners to challenge the values that their tax is based on.
How do I know that my tax assessment value is wrong?
If you know about other similar property sales in your market area, or neighborhood, then you probably have some idea about what your property might sell for. Also, if the tax assessor has appraised your house like the sold properties in your area, but you know that your property is inferior to the sold properties in some way, then the tax assessment value may be incorrect. If you don’t think you could sell your property for the value that the tax assessors have assigned to it then you may have a case for a lower value.
Why should I appeal my tax assessment?
The mass appraisal process used by the tax assessors is unreliable and there is often room for adjustment. Additionally, in Georgia, settling your property tax appeal at a formal hearing caps your taxable value for three years. You may want to do this even if you think the assessor’s market value estimate is reasonable.
Will the county hold this against me?
No the tax assessment appeal process is written in the tax laws of the state and is a right that all taxpayers have. Many people have good reasons to appeal their value and the tax assessment staff understand this.
What can Property Tax Eagle do for me?
Property Tax Eagle is a full service property tax reduction firm. When you engage us we will file the appeal on your behalf, do all of the research necessary to build a case for a lower value, and represent you in negotiations with the tax assessment staff and at formal hearings.
What does it require to get started?
We will need a signed engagement letter, or terms of service on file. You will also complete a Limited Power of Attorney that allows Property Tax Eagle to represent you in all aspect of the property tax appeal process. If you are a commercial property owner and your property is leased to another or other parties then we will request P&L and a rent roll.
What happens after the appeal is settled?
Property Tax Eagle will provide you with documentation showing the result of the appeal. In Georgia while you are in appeal you get a temporary tax bill. This is based on the prior year value or 85% of the current year value, whichever is lower, until the appeal is resolved. Once the appeal is resolved, the tax commissioner will get the result and calculate the final tax amount. In some cases a value reduction will still result in a supplemental tax bill for the difference between the temporary bill and the final tax amount. After a Board of Equalization decision you have 30 days to appeal that decision to Superior Court. So the tax commissioner won’t get the final value until after these 30 days have passed and you may not see a supplemental bill or refund for 45 days or longer.